To the People of Muğla, Turkey, and the around the World;
Today, we, the people of Muğla, have come here together here in the Gulf of Gökova. We are aware of our beautiful natural environment, and we can feel that we belong to it. With joy we announce our gratitude to nature. We greet earth, water, plants and animals, because without them we would not exist!
Every year World Environment Day is celebrated all over the world with all kind of events to draw attention to the pollution and destruction of our natural heritage. We know that nature has no national frontiers: so protection of nature is not a matter of one nation. The worldwide cherished Gulf of Gökova, the unique beauty of Muğla’s mountains and its sea are a world heritage. And therefore, being here together to show our gratitude to Mother Nature, we also wish to confront the crimes and treason we have committed towards Her.
As the public knows, one and a half years ago we, the people of Muğla, started taking action against the re-categorisation of the environmentally protected sites by the Ministry of Urbanisation which would give free access to the building sector. A private real-estate company had been ordered to prepare an “Ecologically Based Scientific Research Report” as a result of which the Ministry accordingly lowered the status of almost all the environmentally protected sites, or even completely annulled protection. What is more, the report was not made public, in spite of citizens’ constitutional right to information, as if it had been prepared secretly behind closed doors.
Biodiversity is protected by international conservation law, and biodiversity concerns all of us, not only the people of Muğla, but also all the public of Turkey and the whole world so it is with such gross irresponsibility the road is being paved to wipe out the biodiversity in our Special Environmental Protected Areas. The people of Muğla have succeeded in putting this subject on the agenda of the European Parliament who have asked the Turkish Government with a written request for an explanation. Almost one year has passed and still the letter has not been answered.
The first step of the big ecological disaster that will now happen in the province of Muğla in general, came into effect when the lowering or removal of the protected status that was accepted and declared on map sheet nr.17, the Gökova Special Environmentally Protected Area which is one of the protected sites in the Gulf of Gökova. In this relation the first damage started with the demolition of a modest Presidential residence in the Bay of Okluk. To replace it construction started of a vast summer Palace of unimaginable and shameless proportions. Approximately 50,000 trees have been felled and thousands of truckloads of concrete have been poured. The uniquely beautiful Bay of Okluk has been surrounded by concrete walls, ten thousands of trees have been cut down to widen the forest track into a 4-lane ceremonial road. 10,000 m2 will be reclaimed from the sea to create a harbour for luxury yachts.
Unfortunately the disaster that started in Okluk is just the beginning! If we cannot stop it we will not leave Muğla as a paradise for future generations; we shall leave one big uninhabitable concrete desert. We, the people of Muğla, call on the Turkish and the global public: let us not be mere spectators of this catastrophe, let us not be part in this infamy. Let us say together “Stop!”. The Ministry of Urbanisation must stop this project of the devastation of the environmentally protected sites, which it has started in Muğla but will continue in the rest of Turkey! The Turkish government must replace its energy policies, give up fossil fuel and nuclear power plants! It must continue the process of Environmental Impact Assessment in the mines!
We call on all candidates for the presidential elections: you should know that neither the people of Muğla nor the global public nor future generations will remember with any gratitude the president who will stake a claim to this destruction. Instead of saying “OK” to this shameful project in Okluk, which is developed in name of the President, we ask you to promise that you, together with common sense and with the people will repeal the laws that destroy our common heritage, and stop the mining, energy and tourism projects that are not environmentally friendly! With respect, we announce that candidates campaigning for parliament and for the presidency who do not make this promise to us must not dare to ask us for our vote.
Muğla Must Stay a Paradise For All To Enjoy
Akyaka, June 3, 2018
THE ORGANISATION COMMITTEE OF THE MUĞLA ENVIRONMENT FESTIVAL